Missouri School District to Pay $4 Million to Transgender Student over Bathroom, Locker Room Policy

Transgender flag at a protest against Trump administration policies in New York City, 2018 (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

A Missouri school district will be forced to pay more than $4 million in damages to a transgender student after it did not allow the biologically female student to use the boys’ restrooms and locker rooms.

A jury ruled Monday that Blue Springs R-IV School District was liable for sex discrimination against the student, who had received a legal name change in 2010 and had received a new, amended birth certificate to reflect a new name and new gender in 2014. The student was not allowed to use the boys’ restrooms and locker rooms at Delta Woods Middle School and the Freshman Center, according to KSHB 41 News.

“Defendants again denied [the plaintiff] access to the boys’ restrooms and locker rooms even though he is recognized as a boy under the laws of the state of Missouri,” a court document read. “Defendants continue to deny [the plaintiff] access to the boys’ restrooms and locker rooms as of the filing of this Petition.”

While the student participated in boys’ P.E. and athletics in middle school, he was required to use a “separate, single person, unisex bathroom outside the boys’ locker room because Defendants refused to give him access to the boys’ locker rooms,” the court documents said.

The student “chose not to participate in fall sports for the 2014-2015 school year at the Freshman Center due to being denied access to the boys’ locker room and restrooms,” the document added, saying the student felt singled out and inferior to other students because of the policy.

The settlement comes as part of a 2015 lawsuit. The student first filed a charge of discrimination with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights in 2014, according to the report.

The lawsuit filed for the student states that the district’s reason for denying him access was because he was transgender and “is alleged to have female genitalia.”

“Upon information and belief, Defendants do not speculate, inspect, or otherwise inquire as to the genitalia of other male students,” the lawsuit said. “Defendants have discriminated and continue to discriminate against Plaintiff R.M.A. based on his sex.”

A spokesperson for the school district told KSHB 41 News that the district “disagrees with the verdict and will be seeking appropriate relief from the trial court and court of appeals if necessary.”

The decision comes months after the Biden Education Department announced that it would expand the definition of the federal civil-rights statute banning sex discrimination in federally funded education programs to include gender identity amid a national debate over whether biological males should be allowed to compete in girls’ sports.

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